New Members Appointed to Orleans Board After Resignations

gavelORLEANS – After a controversy that roiled the town, bringing angry citizens to town hall to demand resignations, town officials in Orleans Wednesday filled two vacant spots on the Board of Health.

The spots were left open following the resignation of Job Taylor III and Augusta “Gussie” McKusick, the chairman and vice chairman of the board last month.

Selectmen called for the two to resign after they were caught on video during a public meeting of the board making disparaging comments about newly elected member of the board David Currier.

At Currier’s first meeting after being elected, Taylor and McKusick were seen on tape asking him twice to recuse himself from decisions and calling him names after he left the room.

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Word of the behavior at the meeting quickly spread and Orleans residents attended both a board of health meeting and a selectmen’s meeting, asking that the Taylor and McKusick resign.

The process of temporarily filing the elected positions was done by a vote at a joint meeting of the board of selectmen and the board of health. With five members of the board of selectmen and three members of the board of health, the candidates were interviewed. Then a vote of the combined boards decided who would fill the vacant positions.

In selecting the candidates, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen David Dunford said, “We really wished to have some individuals that really could bring a sense of collaboration, diversity and objectivity to the board of health.”

Voters will weigh in to fill the positions at the next town election.

Judith DiBrigida and Joe Hartung were appointed by the Board of Selectmen and remaining members of the Board of Health. Dunford said he’s very pleased with the two choices.

Nine  people applied for the two seats.

“We were very pleased that we had nine very, very good candidates that stepped forward to try to fill these two slots,” Dunford said.

Looking at where the board of health is now after the controversy that roiled the town, Dunford expressed confidence.

“Given the situation, I think the outcome is as good as anyone could have hoped and I really believe we have a board and a town moving forward together,” he said.